20 Weird-But-Awesome Style Tricks

Any person worth her sartorial salt knows that true style doesn't come from what clothes are in the closet, it comes from how the pieces are put together. After all, clothes can be bought, but style has to be learned. If your closet looks anything like ours, it's an ever-morphing, ever-shifting collection of basics and statement pieces, thrift-store gems, and big-budget splurges. But, it's not like you've got the luxury to buy a whole new wardrobe each season. To keep things fresh, you can rely on layering.
Figuring out new ways to match up your old standbys is the most clever styling trick we know, but sometimes, you need a little help to think outside of the (closet) box. To help things along, we've come up with 20 new ways to layer, as demonstrated by some of our favorite brands and designers. While some of these looks are definitely challenging, we dare you to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to test it out with your own clothes. Click through — you might find a new combination for the rest of the week (and the next one, too!).
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Photo: Courtesy of McQ.
You love the pattern on your bandage dress but don't feel quite right wearing it off the dance floor. The solution? Layer it on top of a cropped pedal pushers and underneath a neutral-toned jacket. Voilà!
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Wearing a bustier with your party suit is one of your go-tos by now, but take it up a notch à la Kenzo by wearing the bustier on top of the buttoned-up blazer.
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Photo: Courtesy of Derek Lam.
Plain, white tanks are one of your closet's hardest workers. We especially love how it grounds a fancier strapless top, like this one from Derek Lam.
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Photo: Courtesy of Net-A-Porter
For afternoons out with the ladies (where you know you're going to be wearing your light coat for extended periods of time), try out a modern version of the waistcoat by layering a double-breasted blazer or vest underneath a slim topcoat.
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Layer Tailored Shirts Under Pullovers One of our favorite ways to cozy up a button-down shirt (or dress up a pullover) is to wear ‘em together! Top your office staple with an on-trend graphic sweater. Bonus points for finishing the look with a statement necklace.
Joie Jenette Sweater, $218, available at Joie.
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Photo: Courtesy of H&M.
Minju Kim's newest lookbook with H&M clued us into plenty of styling tricks, but we especially loved how she paired a cropped, boxy top with a voluminous peplum.
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Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Comey
With a crisp-white jean jacket and spotted pants, a half-buttoned shirt dress is a chic way to ease into the tunic-over-pants trend.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
If you're too timid to wear a strappy bustier or bra out in public as is, a sheer muscle tank (or long-sleeve tee) makes for a beautiful way to cover up.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Dreslyn.
Especially for back-to-back events, consider skipping coat check and just wear a shapely, structured statement coat belted over baggy pants. It can look as polished as a dress with the added bonus of keeping you warm throughout the day.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Whether it's a deep V, side cutouts, or sheer panels that are preventing you from wearing a shift dress more regularly, do like Prada did and pair a colorful jersey tank (or slim-fit ringer tee) underneath for a cool contrast that works.
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Photo: Courtesy of Zara.
A charcoal-colored turtleneck should be an essential this winter. Wear it underneath swishy, flimsy party dresses for a going-out look that's a little unexpected.
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Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew.
More a pattern-play lesson than a layering one, this J.Crew look still gives us an interesting way to pile on our checks. A work-wear shirt layered underneath a tweed blazer brings a bit of whimsy to what could be some stuffy, menswear-inspired pieces.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Once you start actively looking for patterned vintage aprons, you'll start seeing them everywhere (and available for pennies!). Wear them turned to the side with evening jumpsuits or column-style dresses (just avoid a full skirt underneath, lest the silhouette gets too '50s housewife).
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Photo: Courtesy of Mango.
When stacked on top of each other, a slim puffer, a slim blazer, and a slim oxford gives you an irreverent tomboy-cool effect. Wear it with a pair of heels to keep things surprising.
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Photo: Courtesy of O'2nd.
If you've got a thin puffer jacket, use it as a tool in the winter to extend the shelf life of your lighter weight coats. Worn unbuttoned, the puffer also adds dimension to your layered jackets. Pro tip: Flip the lapels on your various blazers and coats to mix up the collars.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
This Theyskens' Theory look is genius in the way it uses what you've already got — oversized T-shirts and spaghetti-strap tanks — and makes it look high fashion. In real life, wear it with a black, full skirt for a leg-lengthening silhouette.
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Photo: Courtesy of Steven Alan.
Even if you don't have a matching shirt dress, tunic, and pant set, you can still wear an unbuttoned frock over a longer length tank and carrot-cut pants. We love how the gathered waist creates a bustle-like effect.
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Photo: Courtesy of My Wardrobe.
Modernize a dress with a wide neckline by wearing an unbuttoned shirt underneath.
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Photo: Courtesy of Madewell.
For fuzzy, nubby, oversized cardigans, wear them one on top of the other for a chic fall look.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chanel.
This two-toned Chanel frock gave us the idea to wear our super-short crop tops on top of a single-colored shift dress.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Céline convinced us that wearing our lighter weight, flowing, midi-length skirts (or even skinny-strapped dresses) underneath our long tanks is a look worth copying.